One day I decided to switch off my mobile phone. Actually it switched itself off when the battery ran out. So I said tiddle dee dee and went on with life. Working peacefully without disturbance. Until…
A panic phone call from mom to my office landline (how she ever got hold of that landline is still a mystery). “Are you ok?” was the first thing she asked me. I pinched myself, jumped a few times. Yup – all vitals working fine. Me ok. Wassup at your end? I asked her flippantly. “I have been desperately trying to reach you since morning! Why is your phone unreachable?” She chided me.
“Ugh..it’s out of battery. Tell me amma, what’s the problem?” I said immediately concerned
“Problem? Who said there is a problem?” asks mom, still irritated.
“Then why were you trying to reach me so desperately?” I wondered
“Oh that…you know our banana plant at home…well..its got its first batch of fruits! Yeah! A whole bunch of tiny bananas!” She said excitedly.
I was like “that’s it? You were desperately trying to reach me to say that?” My turn to get annoyed.
“Well…yes but I got worried because I was unable to reach you since morning.” Mom said a trifle sheepishly.
“Oh c’mon ma we just spoke this morning at 8 am! Why must you panic! Ok let me get on with work now.” I said disgustedly and put the phone down.
A little later my boss called me into his room and asks me if I had checked my mails. I shook my head saying I was busy with so and so work and did not log on. He sighed and said “go check your mail. Everything is now sorted out though.”
I checked mail. Panic mails from the most annoying client in the world. All to the effect of agency is being uncommunicative. The concerned executive is unreachable. All the work has got stalled because the person cannot be reached. This kind of attitude will not be tolerated. How can any deadlines be achieved at this rate…well…you get the drift. So I picked up the phone and called the dude.
“What’s the panic?” I bark into the phone.
“I could not reach you. Something urgent!” He blubbered
“What is it? My phone was out of battery and I was out all day.” I lied efficiently.
“Well…that layout you sent me yesterday…it’s approved. I need the artwork by tomorrow.” He said like it was the most urgent thing in the world.
“Is that all? For this you sent all those mails? And why din’t you simply communicate this by mail instead writing all that nonsense.” I yell – for this had now become a big issue where my boss had to intervene and ‘sort out’.
“And how have we missed any deadline? You will get your artwork tomorrow.” I screamed before I slammed the phone on him.
Next a call from my mother-in-law on the office landline. It seems my daughter had been trying to reach me and was now crying because she was unable to talk to me. So daughter comes on line and we coochie coo a bit. After I have pacified her I ask her why she was trying to reach me. “Amma what is that Dress up games site? I want to go online and play that game. You have not bookmarked it in Firefox – so how can I find it!” she accuses me.
That sorted I try to focus on work. My brother calls on the office landline. “Are you ok?” he asks me concerned. “Amma was worried and she called me 10 times today to ask if you had called me for anything. She was not able to reach you.” He explained.
I sighed. “Yes I spoke to her. My phone was out of battery. Nothing to worry.” And then we exchanged sibling notes on why-is-mom-so-unnecessarily-worried before we finished the call.
Another phone call from my mother-in-law comes. A friend has been trying to reach me all day. She finally, somehow got my residence number and left a message. I call the friend right away! It was my schoolmate Devi – she was down from the US and was in Chennai for just a day. She had tried reaching me all day in the hope of meeting me. She was off to Bangalore that night – but had some other plans for the evening. So no hope of meeting her. I was disappointed. I would have loved to meet her. We chatted a bit and then I vaguely promised to try and make a trip to Bangalore.
I realized then that I was a slave to that instrument called the Phone. People controlled my life through that phone. My day was shaped by that phone. I shall hereon and henceforth label it my Master. And me the humble slave shall always keep it charged and ready to take orders!